The Letter Writing Revolution
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Today, I wanted to share the photo above that was sent to me by a mother in southern Ontario. Remember the post I did of the youngest member of The Letter Writing Revolution? Well, that letter that he dropped in the mailbox (in the photo from that day's post) arrived to this little guy above and his mom took this photo to illustrate the joy he had in receiving this letter. I LOVE this photo. This kid looks like he just got the best present in the world! I love the letter itself with the printing of a child. I can just imagine how much time and effort went into hand writing the letter. Bless the mother that sat with him and spelled out the words he had trouble with and helped him along from the beginning to the end of the process of writing a letter.
I have a few letters to write and I hope to take time each evening away from my work to do just that. I hope the ones I have sent out have been received. Keep your eye on your mailbox, you may just get one from me.
Friday, June 25, 2010
An unexpected letter from a woman who was a former client of mine seven years ago and who became a friend. How exciting that she was inspired to go out and buy this canary yellow stationary and write ME a letter. She even shared an incredible poem that she wrote. I was touched by the words and honoured that she shared it with me.
It's Friday and so I likely won't post again until Monday. I have letters to write as promised and plan to get caught up this evening. There are two letters on their way to Inkerman to two special girls who have finished their school year successfully and a couple of small notes going out to a new mama who could use some encouragement and a card to a friend just because.......
A mother of four told me that she was inspired by The Letter Writing Revolution to hand write letters to two of her children's teachers to let them know how important they are and how blessed they are to have hardworking dedicated teachers involved with their children's day-to-day life. I really like this idea.......if you didn't get around to it for the last day of school, I am sure your child's teacher will appreciate a letter at the beginning of the school year.
Another mom commented that she received news of this blog while visiting a sick friend across the country. She decided to write a postcard to her 22 month old daughter who she had to seperate from for the first time. She plans to continue to write letters from home to be mailed and received by her little one. I like this idea. There will be nothing valued more in years from now when this little girl is a young woman. What treasures!
If anyone has any brilliant ideas for spreading the word about my revolution....please send them my way....preferably by letter but leaving comments here works, too.
I hope you have inspiring, restful weekends.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
You may be more inclined to start writing letters if you have all of the essential writing supplies. I find that if I have to spend time searching for things like a decent pen, for example, the letter is just not going to get written. Even more ideal, is a space to write in. Maybe you're like me and have a desk in your house that isn't really used as a desk but used as a place to "put things." You know, things that don't actually have a place anywhere else so that smooth, bare surface (a.k.a the top of a desk) will suffice. Maybe clear it off, buy a small lamp and voila....you have your letter writing desk. It's a little bit like having a place to meditate in your home except this space is probably much easier to create and hey, when you get lost in writing, it's a form of meditation, isn't it? There, you just killed two birds with one stone. I just thought about that last commonly used statement and it's really not very nice, is it?
What you will need:
- a sturdy box with lid or an empty drawer
- good quality writing paper/pads of stationary/notecards/envelopes (check out my upcoming post on stationary shopping and where to go!)
- stickers or decals to dress up the plain envelopes (especially white ones!!)
- a pen (s): I prefer those fine felt tip markers
- address book: if yours is ratty and full of scribbled out addresses. Consider investing in a new one for your letter writing pals.
- stamps (national and international)
And that's it. This makes a great gift for someone especially a child who is just getting started in letter writing. Fill a decorated shoe box with all of the supplies one needs to write letters including a pack of stamps.
If you're wanting to jump on board The Letter Writing Revolution but so far you have only gotten as far as reading these posts, your homework is to get out there and buy your supplies and then write a letter. Keep sending in your updates of how you are helping to revitalize the lost art of letter writing.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The Letter Writing Revolution was launched just one week ago today and there are 37 followers already.......averaging 5 followers per day! That's amazing!! I hope to see this website continue to grow. Most importantly, I wish to hear your stories of how getting back into or beginning letter writing has impacted your life. I can see some of you frowning and wondering how something as simple as writing a letter can even come close to impacting a life. You might be surprised.
I have been getting stories by email and on Facebook of how you are revitalizing this lost art of letter writing and I really enjoy hearing the stories and updates. I have also received a few letters this week from some of you that have really made my week. As promised, three letters went out by mail this morning right after I wrote them and another three will get written this evening and mailed out by morning. Although I launched this revolution, I have been Miss Slacky Pants when it comes to writing letters in the past. I, too, have fallen into the convenient pit of emailing but that has all changed as of last Wednesday.
A reminder since we are entering week 2:
The Letter Writing Revolution is simply a personal quest to revitalize a lost art....one letter at a time. If you haven't shared this blog wth your email pals or on Facebook, please do so. Let's get everyone writing, sending and receiving letters especially children who have never had the chance. Maybe the teachers out there can connect with another class of same aged children in another school (in another country!) and exchange letters. Summer holidays are right around the corner.......find a pen pal or reconnect with an old friend and begin using Canada Post as your way to communicate. Send a letter to an elderly person who may be lonely. Let the people who serve you in your community know how much they mean to you by writing them a gratitude note. Write a letter of love to your spouse even if you think they don't really deserve it ;-) Take the time to write a letter to your child about what is going on in the world today (like an earthquake!) and how proud you are of them.
In closing, I want to share some words from one of this blog's followers. I received a letter from her today:
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
I have, thankfully, had to write only a few of those letters. One very memorable one was to my dad's best friend, Al, who was dying from cancer. I was living in BC at the time and I was so sad that I wouldn't have the opportunity to visit with him and talk with him before the end came. Al was a part of our life growing up and brought into our household, many moments of laughter and hysterics. He was a character to say the least and I don't expect to ever meet another man like Al in this lifetime. Feeling frustrated and knowing that I might regret the fact that I wouldn't see Al one last time, I decided to sit down and write him a letter about how he had impacted my life and how much I was going to miss him. I know that his wife received the letter and read it to him at his bedside. I felt peaceful knowing that this farewell had been completed.
Now, probably the most popular of the "hard-to-write-letters" is the 'Dear John' letter which I haven't written any of as I despise using letter writing, texting or emailing for matters of the heart like break-ups. Come on, people, get a back bone and be considerate enough to break-up with someone face-to-face. The letter can come afterwards. I know my sister has written a lot of 'Dear John' letters but that's only because she is married to a man named John.
After the break-up or the divorce, there may be many emotions that haven't even surfaced or acknowledged. Perhaps, you have a strong need to tell your former love of the things you really appreciated about them and on the other hand, maybe you feel a need to really get some things off your chest. Maybe you need them to know that you HATED when they left their socks on the floor and how they chewed their food. Yes, maybe their naked bike riding on city streets at 2am was eccentric and interesting when you first met but maybe you just need to tell them that, well, the novelty wore off and that's just weird. There are alot of things we keep to ourselves for the sake of keeping the peace but if the divorce is final, I say write it all down in one mad rush and send it off. Phew....doesn't that feel better?
On the other hand, there are letters that need writing that usually involve some form of difficult and strong emotion like rage and grief but that don't necessarily need to be mailed. I facilitate a workshop for women who want to make peace with their difficult births and one of the suggestions is letter writing. Handwritten letters that express all of it.....their anger, their disappointment, their grief, their rage, their feelings of shame and degradation and embarrassment and so on. The most important thing is to get it all down on paper as though they are writing to the one who crossed them and then they burn it. Some letters don't have to be mailed.
And finally, the letters of grief......the letters that are written to someone who has passed on. Perhaps, you didn't get a chance to say all you needed to say because time ran out or the death was sudden. What do you do with all of these unspoken words and thoughts? You write them down in the form of a letter and while you write you assume that in some way, the decesased will be able to read it. The peace brought about by this process can be magnificently healing. You can write about the things you wished you had said or done while the person was alive. You can apologize for the things that you didn't get around to apologizing for and you can thank them for the things they might have done that changed your life in some way. Sometimes these letters are filled with sheer anger and if that's what you got, that's what you write.
There are no rules to these types of letters. The act of getting it out of your head and heart and onto paper is not only the first step but it might be the only step needed. I suggest that if letters are highly emotional, that you wait a couple of days before sending and perhaps re-read it and make sure that you have no regrets when you drop it in the box.
Oh, one last type that I just thought of............maybe you have had a falling out with someone and you haven't spoken in days,weeks or even years. So very hard to move past the stubborness and pick up the phone.....so much easier to send an email or a text. Take it from me, writing a letter will mean more and will be accepted more easily than a phone call as the one on the receiving end will have the opportunity to read it over and over before responding. And it is so much more personal than a text or an email. An email might insinuate that you really do want to make ammends but you're just too darn busy to do anything else but fire off an email. That likely won't get you the reaction you're hoping for.
If you see yourself in any of the situations above, think about the almightly letter and it's power in bringing closure, peace and healing to you (and maybe someone else) in difficult times.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Love Letter: A love letter is a romantic way to express feelings of love in written form. Delivered by hand, by mail or romantically left in a secret location, the letter may be anything from a short and simple message of love to a lengthy explanation of feelings. (Wikipedia)
One of my favourite classifications of a letter is the letter expressing love. Nothing says 'I love you' like the time spent thinking of your beloved while transcribing your thoughts into words and putting them on paper. These thoughts of love are now tangible and cannot be denied or misunderstood when they are clearly evident in ink on paper. Yes, over the years, feelings may change, you may love an another and your lover may have moved on but in that moment in time there is proof that you were loved.
In order to conduct research for this particular post, I opened up my old trunk that contains almost nothing else but letters. A few boxes contain only love letters. I am not sure why I have kept them all of these years but reading through several of them has left me reflective and even a bit weepy. I can recall in a moment what each letter was about, what I was going through, what I was experiencing as a teenager and as a young woman in her twenties. One of the letters describes a comforting statement that says, "Let me give you shelter in a treehouse and perhaps we will share a kiss or two." He was referring to a treehouse that we discovered one rainy night where our first kiss took place. The irony is that I now live in the house next door to that property. The treehouse is long gone but that letter reminded me of that time.
My first love letter was from a 13-year old boy that I met in a hockey rink in January 1984. We spotted each other across the ice surface. I was spending the weekend with a cousin and she went to school with this boy. We were introduced and our young romance began. We wrote letters to one another between hockey games and tournaments. It seemed that the only way we could see each other was to attend events at our local rinks. The good thing was that he knew a girl who came to my town often and she would hand deliver his letters which sometimes contained a photo or even the pencil he used in school that day. This love affair was over within a year but I hung onto his letters. I especially liked the one that contained the words to a new hit song that was in the charts that year. It was called "Heaven" by Bryan Adams. It's hilarious now to think that this boy was writing such heavy lyrics to a young girl he had just met. That's love for you.
Love came again when I was 16-years old and I had one of the most memorable summers of my life~ the summer of 1987. It was a summer of discovery and adventure and coming of age. It was also the summer my parents separated and I found love in a lanky, 15-year old boy who was a rebel without a cause, an artist, a poet, a musician and who treated me in a way that an angry and confused teen girl needed to be treated. Unfortunately, my dad wasn't too fond of the dyed hair, the skull buckles on his boots and the words "Bondage and Discipline" that were spray painted across the back of his leather jacket. But my dad didn't understand. You know how parents can be. What I have, though, is proof of that year in the form of letters, lots of letters.....handwritten and honest and loving. Here's a bit of just one:
Friday, June 18, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
to all those good friends I've known."~ Neil Young
And so it begins.......the first post of The Letter Writing Revolution. The desire to start a revolution like this has been floating around in my mind for sometime. Letter writing is quickly becoming (or has already become) a lost art and I intend on revitalizing it....one letter at a time.